ScienceOnline2012 is the sixth annual meeting on science and the web, taking place in Raleigh, NC from January 19-21. It’s structured in an “un-conference” format of discussions and workshops, attended by science writers, editors, scientists, artists, and others who participate in, communicate, and discuss science on the internet. This will be my first year attending the meeting, and I’m really excited to be meeting a lot of the folks that I’ve come to know and admire on Twitter, in the blogosphere, and in the media.
Here’s the catch: as a graduate student, I typically have access to travel funds through my university, my department, or the grant that’s funded my dissertation research. Unfortunately, I’m ineligible for university funding because I’m not technically”presenting” (as an “un-conference,” #scio12’s structure is a little unusual), and the NSF grant that funds my work is winding down, so the travel funds are depleted. That means I have to make it to Raleigh on a graduate student budget, and I need a little help.
But first, you might be wondering why a scientist would attend a conference about science communication. As I’ve written previously, I’m committed to a career as a practicing scientist-who-communicates (as opposed to a career in science communication) . Here’s why it’s important to me to participate, particularly as I prepare to finish my PhD:
As a publicly-funded scientist, I strongly believe that I have a responsibility to communicate my research with the public (that’s one of the reasons I started tweeting and blogging). I’ve spent the last six and a half years of my graduate career learning many valuable skills, but communication skills aren’t typically included in a scientist’s toolkit. Also, we know that scientists engaging with the public is an important part of increasing public science literacy, as well as diversity within the STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) fields.
At ScienceOnline2012, I’ll not only be learning how to be a better communicator, but also be part of the community that is shaping what science communication looks like in the future– and I believe that scientists should be a part of that conversation. I’ll also be networking with professional science writers and other scientist-communicators, and learning about other forms of new media (I’m especially interested in podcasts!). My goal is to incorporate these skills into my own lab and in the classroom, as I include science communication and new media in student training, lab outreach, and teaching.
I’ve already registered for ScienceOnline2012, and my goal is to crowd-fund $600 for my travel expenses. In return, I will not only tweet and blog the heck out of #scio12, but I have decided to take a page out of Sarcozona‘s book (she successfully crowd-funded a trip to ESA last year): for every $100 I raise, I will interview an awesome science communicator for The Contemplative Mammoth! Feel free to suggest someone in the comments section.
If you would like to make a contribution, I’ve come up with three options:
1) Send a donation via Amazon Payments to jlgill [at] wisc [dot] edu
2) Send a donation via Paypal to jlgill [at] wisc [dot] edu (as I am not a non-profit, I can’t have a donation button).
3) You can send a donation via the postal service to my work address on my website.
Many, many thanks to those of you who help me get to ScienceOnline2012! And, speaking of gratitude, I want to express my most sincere thanks to those of you who have shown your support for The Contemplative Mammoth, and to an incredibly welcoming community of scientists and science writers on Twitter. I can’t wait to meet many of you next month!
So far, I’ve raised $120 $170 $210 $250 $265 $365 $465 $505 towards Yay! I’ve reached my goal of $600! That means I’ll be interviewing six people at ScienceOnline2012! Many, many thanks to my donors, most of whom I’ve never met (but am looking forward to meeting in a few weeks!).